Is Influencer Marketing being used as it should?

Brands in the region have been utilizing the power of influencers for a number of years. It’s only recently that this has become somewhat of a trend whereby Influencer Marketing is regarded as an integral component of almost any campaign.

But what is Influencer Marketing and is it being used as it should?

Influencers have the power to directly influence people’s purchasing decisions and/or brand perception. Brands have been harnessing this power by integrating influencers into their marketing campaigns. Influencer Marketing is a two-way street, whereby the brand benefits from the influencers’ social clout (the reach, impact and engagement their messages achieve) for amplification and their credibility among their target audience. In return, influencers benefit from the brand’s content and association in offering their audience something unique and exclusive, while further bolstering their credibility.

However, many brands fail to see that it’s an influencer’s game. The influencers are the ones holding the keys to reaching a specific target audience who trusts what they have to say about a given subject. This means that influencers need to be involved in shaping the content they’re sharing as opposed to brands spoon-feeding content to them. Another misconception is that once influencers start sharing a brand’s message they automatically become a “sell-out”. This is not always the case as it depends on which brands influencers choose to work with and how aligned these brands are with their platform.

Influencer Marketing can have a sizable impact on a brand’s campaign, this impact can be either positive or negative and it depends on the influencers’ credibility and social clout, as well as the content produced. Things could also backfire if the content is too branded or seen as not compatible with the influencer’s usual direction. On the other hand, if the influencer selection is done well and the message is well crafted to both communicate the brand’s message and fit the influencer’s mantra, success is the most likely outcome.

Some view Influencer Marketing as a double-edged sword, the more popular they become they more compensation they want and the less they are trusted with their fans.

Again, this depends on the way influencers behave. Being consistent with the type of content they share, subtlety in communicating the brands’ messages and carefully choosing which brands and which messages they work with, all decide how trusted their offering is by the consumers. This applies irrespective of what benefits or compensation they receive.

Having said that, there comes a point when an influencer moves from ‘social influencer’ status into ‘social celebrity’ status. In this case, the rules of the game differ and the dynamics drastically change.

Follow Khaled on Twitter: @khaledtron

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